Dahmir Bishop has left Xavier. There’s not really a spin on that news that is positive. Bishop was a big piece of a highly touted Xavier class that was supposed to help lead the Musketeers out of a one year NCAA tournament drought. Now, with KyKy Tandy and Daniel Ramsey both hampered by injury, only one player (Zach Freemantle) from that class is contributing. What that means for Xavier going forward is murky.
Xavier plays this season a bit thin, but shouldn’t suffer too badly
The Musketeers are now down to an eight man rotation. That, unquestionably, is deep enough. Xavier’s best ever team ran nine deep, the last Tu Holloway team only got serious time from eight guys, and the team that played the classic game against Kansas State essentially went seven deep. If KyKy Tandy gets going, eight is more than enough for this team to still do some damage. Bishop had, and still has, a lot of potential, but he wasn’t really contributing this season. For 2020, the Musketeers should be ok.
Going forward, Xavier has lost something
For this year the Musketeers should be ok, but next season they will be without Tyrique Jones, Quentin Goodin, and Bryce Moore for sure, and possibly down Paul Scruggs and Naji Marshall as well. Dieonte Miles, Dwan Odom, CJ Wilcher (and Twitter says Colby Jones) ease a bit of that sting, but Dah Bishop was supposed to be another genuine star on the team. That possibility is gone now. Zach Freemantle may be making the step up to fill that role, but strictly in terms of growing players, Travis Steele is now missing a guy projected to be a stud.
Travis Steele can recruit
The standout players on the team now are his recruits, the transfer starting is his, and the team’s three and D guy is his. Watching Coach Steele negotiate the press conference explaining the departure of Bishop it’s easy to see why guys want to play for him. He’s warm, sincere, and projects a genuine care. He also projects the image of a guy with a plan. He said that the team will likely not add a 2020 recruit but will more likely look to “stay older” with a transfer. Not ruling anything out, Steele even mentioned going international to fill the scholarship he now has open.
Xavier needs a spark from somewhere
Xavier’s offense remains, generously, a work in progress. Dah Bishop was a looming antidote to that. Sure, he hadn’t gotten it going and had only scored 16 points so far, but there was that untapped potential there to kickstart the team if Bishop put it together. Like Elias Harden, Bishop felt like a high effort guy who was always right on the edge of breaking through. Like Harden, Bishop is now gone. Xavier’s offense remains decidedly not kickstarted. Dontarious James appears less likely every passing day to be the answer, and most other guys are already playing at or above their career norms. It seems ludicrous to expect Zach Freemantle to improve on a 119 offensive efficiency. That leaves KyKy Tandy’s return to health as the only potential panacea. For Xavier to go deep, it will have to come from somewhere.
(Video courtesy Cincinnati.com)